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Mr. Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many people have stopped claiming (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) national insurance credits as a result of moving onto a New Deal option since April 1998. 
Ms Jowell: Since April 1998, all 138,320 young people who started one of the four options under the New Deal for young people ceased claiming Jobseeker's allowance. 107,460 of these continue to claim national insurance credits but we expect that the 30,680 young people who started a waged option will have ceased to claim national insurance credits.
Ms Jowell: I continue to encourage all employers, especially those in the public sector, to offer more employment opportunities to people in the New Deal. Organisations in the public sector, including schools and local education authorities, have close links with their
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Mr. Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to the Higher Education Funding Council for England on 23 November 1999 to express his concern about the present position on equal opportunities for HE staff and he asked them to ensure that institutions have and implement equal opportunity statements. The Commission on University Career Opportunity has sent a three-point action plan to implement racial equality to all heads of institutions.
Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what data he has collated on the number of people participating in higher education courses in each constituency in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Ashdown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make it his policy to enable schools to plan ahead by fixing their budgets, on a per capita basis, for three years ahead in line with the public expenditure planning periods set out in each Comprehensive Spending Review; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Estelle Morris: Under the current system of local government finance, it is for local authorities to decide on the distribution of funding between their schools, taking account of local circumstances and priorities. However, the Government has set local authorities a target for 2000-01 of increasing average delegated funding per pupil by at least 6 per cent., or 5 per cent., in authorities which already delegate more than 85 per cent. of their local schools budget.
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Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if external institutions will have the same rights of access to learning and skills council development funds after April 2001 as further education colleges and private training organisations. 
Mr. Wicks: External Institutions will have the same access to core funding for learners as further education colleges and private training providers. The Further Education Funding Council will consult on proposals for the use of the FE Standard Fund in 2000-01. It is intended to extend the use of FE Standards Fund in 2000-01 to External Institutions, Specialist Colleges and other non-sector college providers of further education. The Department will consult separately this summer on the use from April 2001 of FE Capital Funds.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the development of the revised syllabus for GNVQ at Advanced Level for implementation by schools and colleges in the autumn, with particular reference to the assessment regime. 
Mr. Wicks [holding answer 17 February 2000]: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) is currently in the process of finalising the accreditation of the revised Advanced GNVQ specifications to be introduced for teaching in September 2000. Draft specifications are already available via the QCA's and the awarding bodies' websites.
The rigour of the Advanced GNVQ assessment regime will be significantly upgraded to ensure that standards are equivalent with GCE A level. In particular, the new specifications have been written to a more demanding standard; there will be a higher proportion of external testing; there will be revised A-E grading scale; and candidates will be limited to one opportunity to re-sit each unit, as for A level. We announced on 16 February that Advanced GNVQs would be known as "vocational A levels" with effect from September to reflect these important reforms.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what progress is being made in developing electronic data interchange between further education colleges and awarding bodies. 
Mr. Wicks [holding answer 17 February 2000]: The major awarding bodies use a variety of electronic data interchange (EDI) systems, operated through service providers, to link with colleges and they encourage the use of these systems. It is for each college to decide whether to use EDI systems or not. Links are well developed for GCSE, GCE and GNVQ titles but less so for NVQs and "brand name" qualifications.
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of the report, Ethnicity and Employment in Higher Education, published by the Policy Studies Institute. 
Mr. Wicks: The findings of the report are for the higher education institutions to consider and address. In his letter of 23 November 1999 to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Secretary of State asked the Council to encourage institutions to give proper emphasis to racial equality in their equal opportunities policy statements.
Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) if he will ensure that paper and timber products purchased by his Department are independently certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as coming from a sustainable source; 
Mr. Wills: I refer to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions dated 14 February 2000, Official Report, column 357W. I can confirm that my Department's policy on green issues is modelled on that of DETR.
Mr. Wills [holding answer 20 February 2000]: The average cost of printing and distributing a press release from the DfEE in 1999 was £65. This allows us to get information to over 1,000 national, local and specialist media as well as local education authorities and other educational bodies. Increasing use of electronic communication is being made to reduce costs.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will take steps to require Kinloss School in Worcestershire to allow Worcestershire Local Education Authority access to the recent Social Services Inspectorate report on the school. 
Jacqui Smith: On 3 February 2000 my Department authorised the Worcestershire County Inspectorate to release copies of the report. Copies will be sent to all local authorities that have placed children in the school. This will include Worcestershire Local Education Authority.
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DfEE officials have also written to all Local Education Authorities responsible for children in Kinloss, advising them that my Department has also given the school notice of withdrawal of its approval under section 347 of the Education Act 1996. This means that the school has until June 2000 to remedy the failings identified in the report, or it will lose its approval.
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